Deep Cuts To Illinois Prison Books Budget Could Drive Recidivism

The library in the programs building is pictured during a media tour of the Thomson Correctional Center Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Thomson, Ill.
The library in the programs building is pictured during a media tour of the Thomson Correctional Center Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Thomson, Ill. M. Spencer Green / AP Photo
The library in the programs building is pictured during a media tour of the Thomson Correctional Center Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Thomson, Ill.
The library in the programs building is pictured during a media tour of the Thomson Correctional Center Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Thomson, Ill. M. Spencer Green / AP Photo

Deep Cuts To Illinois Prison Books Budget Could Drive Recidivism

In the early 2000s, the Illinois Department of Corrections spent an average of $750,000 a year on books for prisons. Last year, it spent just $276 dollars. Research suggests that’s not a winning strategy for preventing recidivism because many inmates rely on books to figure out how to reshape their lives after their release.

Morning Shift speaks with Illinois Newsroom education reporter Lee Gaines about why IDOC is spending so little on books and what former inmates, advocates and researchers have to say about it.